I see, therefore, great potential for cloud computing applications to help Europe’s businesses into the true ICT age, at lower costs compared to traditional IT company solutions.
Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, November 2009
Towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century there was a worldwide financial crisis that saw businesses everywhere searching for ways to cut costs. At the same time feature-rich ‘Web 2.0’ technologies such as social networking
websites, accessible from anywhere on different kinds of devices – including the ubiquitous iPhone from Apple – were gaining in popularity at an incredible rate, thanks in no small part to the high availability and affordability of broadband internet and mobile internet connections. So Information Technology was becoming more complex and businesses, along with the general public, were becoming ever more dependent on it; but added complexity and functionality are usually accompanied by added costs, which was not a great message for financial directors in a recession. The time was right for cloud computing, which offers some businesses considerable financial benefits, technological benefits and operational benefits, and can provide an opportunity for competitive advantage over others. As for the potential environmental benefits of cloud computing, they are debatable, as we shall see.